Background: A common genetic variant, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) rs2736098, was recently reported to be associated with lung cancer risk in Caucasians. In addition, many studies have investigated the role of this polymorphism in the etiology of cancer of various organs. Nevertheless, the results of related case-control studies remain inconsistent. Methods: We hypothesized that the genetic risk variant identified in Caucasians may potentially influence the susceptibility to lung cancer in the Chinese population. To test this hypothesis, a case-control study including 539 non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases and 627 cancer-free controls was conducted. Furthermore, to investigate the association between rs2736098 and cancer risk, a meta-analysis based on previously published studies and our case-control study was also performed. Results: Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that individuals carrying the A allele or the AA genotype exhibited a significantly elevated risk of NSCLC compared with those carrying the G allele or GG genotype (A vs. G: OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.02–1.43, P = 0.028; AA vs. GG: OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.05–2.09, P = 0.025). Additionally, this association was stronger among adenocarcinoma cases (AA vs. GG: OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.12–2.50, P = 0.013; A vs. G: OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.05–1.57, P = 0.016). In the meta-analysis, a borderline significant association between the rs2736098 polymorphism and overall cancer risk was observed (AA vs. GG: OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.07–1.46; AA vs. AG+GG: OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.06–1.41; additive model: OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.02–1.18), and further stratifications demonstrated a moderately increased risk for lung and bladder cancer, Asian ethnicity and hospital-based studies. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the rs2736098 polymorphism may contribute to the risk of lung cancer, especially adenocarcinoma, in the Chinese population. In addition, the current meta-analysis indicates that this genetic variant is only weakly associated with overall cancer risk. However, the rs2736098 polymorphism may affect individual susceptibility to lung and bladder cancer. Further studies are needed to validate our findings.